Socklike sneakers have been one of athletic footwear’s biggest trends in recent years, but few performance shoes have managed to achieve a full sock construction. That’s about to be old news thanks to the designers at Nike, who have pushed the sock sneaker to unforeseen heights with the newly released NikeLab Veil runner.
The sneakers, which are also water-resistant, were showcased on Instagram yesterday by Ernest Kim, innovation director of running at Nike, who detailed the process behind the creation of the shoe.
“[Nike has] offered a number of shoes in the past that included ‘sock’ in the name, but they were all sock-inspired and still featured traditional shoe construction,” Kim wrote on Instagram, explaining that the underfoot strobel was the element keeping many of the brand’s designs from achieving a full-on sock build. However, with the NikeLab Veil, the brand was able to remove the strobel completely, bringing the wearer’s foot closer to the brand’s flexible Free sole tooling than ever before.
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The limited-edition model is offered in three unisex styles: two Gyakusou colorways in “Black/Sail” and “Port Wine/Sail/River Rock” ($200) and a standard all-black variation ($180).
“I know of no other shoe that delivers this level of weather-resistance with zero compromise in weight or stiffness,” Kim wrote. “If you prefer less shoe and hate the idea of having to go to something bulky for your winter running, you will adore the Veil.”
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I am well chuffed to finally be able to share this shoe that my team worked their asses off to bring to life. It's called the NikeLab Veil and, to the best of my knowledge, it's the first commercially available running shoe from Nike built using actual sock construction. And, as you can see from the video, it's also highly water resistant. • One quick follow-up on the point above re: sock construction—we've offered a number of shoes in the past that included "Sock" in the name, but they were all sock-inspired & still featured traditional shoe construction—a key component of which being an underfoot strobel (the iconic Sock Racer or more recent Sock Dart being prime examples). • The NikeLab Veil is, by contrast, actually built using sock construction, which enabled our team to completely eliminate the strobel, thereby unlocking an insane level of sock-like comfort, as well as greater cushioning feel from the midsole. • On the topic of underfoot feel, because the Veil has no conventional strobel, it's the truest expression of Nike Free that I've ever experienced. As a big believer in the benefits of running with one's innate mechanics, I absolutely love this. And, speaking of love, I'm also really smitten with this colorway, which I call the Storm Trooper. 👻 • I will admit that there are some downsides: First, the shoe is a PITA to get on and, at $180 for the standard black colorway & $200 for the Gyakusou colorways, it's not cheap. But I know of no other shoe that delivers this level of weather-resistance with zero compromise in weight or stiffness. If you prefer less shoe and hate the idea of having to go to something bulky for your winter running, you will adore the Veil. But don't sleep on this if you're interested—we didn't make very many of them, so all three of the unisex colorways are quite limited. • It truly takes a village to bring a product like this to market and, unfortunately, I can't shout out everyone who helped bring it to life. But I couldn't post this without acknowledging @dantrowe, who led the design effort and stuck with this crazy concept through thick & thin. • #NikeLabVeil #Gyakusou #NikeFree
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